While the annual Imjin Classic Hockey Games have been held every year, this time, the match was being hosted at the very site where over 60 years ago, the Canadian soldiers played in a brief escape from the brutalities of the war near Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
For the event, South Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and the Canadian Embassy unveiled 30 minutes of footage taken by those Canadian soldiers back in the 1950s.
The hockey games on the frozen Imjin River are shown 12 minutes into the video.
|(Courtesy of Ministry of Patriots and Veterans)|
Other parts of the footage show the daily struggles and encounters experienced by the Canadian soldiers.
By courtesy of the veterans and the ministry, The Korea Herald is sharing the full reel of one of the video, uncut, in order to prevent any unwanted editing.
[Below are excerpts of the narration in the video]
All possible was done to take care for the welfare of the men (soldiers) this strange land, which offered none of the amenities to which they were accustomed at home.
An outstanding success was the hockey rink, which, with the advent of winter, was built on the frozen Imjin River.
Back on skates again, the Canadians were in their element. Hockey games were arranged for the various units in the brigade.
One of the more amusing afternoons was provided by teams representing the Australian and New Zealand troops, who donned the skates and played with right good will to the edification of a large crowd of their comrades.
While not up to the standards of Maple Leaf Gardens, the boys from Down Under put on a good show, and were quick to pick up some of the more rugged aspects of the game. Their efforts were certainly entertaining.
[Some other memorable quotes from the clip]
“Boy, I’m telling you, when they say hills in Korea, they’re not kidding. All of them were steep and mostly 10 miles up and 3 going down. And when you got to the top of them, all you could see were more hills.”
“They sure were a sad looking lot. Little lad, no bigger than my kid brother Jimmy back home, walking down the road with a great big pack in his bag and often, another baby at his side. I sure hope nothing like this ever happens at home. A lot of the guys sometimes wonder what we‘re doing out here. Well, just so long that nothing like this ever happens at home would be one good reason.”